Agri-EPI Centre and Overbury Enterprises are working with a young entrepreneur and South Wales farmer’s son Tom McNamara, who has invented an dial-reading tool which he says has the potential to save farmers significant amounts of time and money.
McNamara’s device, called a ‘freeup’ can be mounted onto any kind of equipment or machinery to read and record their analogue dials, instantly making them ‘smart’.
The invention can read the value on any dial, as frequently as needed. Readings are recorded on a webpage and, if they move outside the parameters set by the operator, they will be notified via text message. The ability to review the data gathered over time supports better informed decision-making. The data can also be exported for use in any other software.
McNamara, who is also an academic researcher in farmer-led innovation, explained: “It is not realistic for most farmers to replace their expensive analogue equipment with digitised versions. The freeup offers the solution by making any piece of equipment with a traditional dial ‘smart’. It doesn’t matter what the dial measures, when it was built, what brand it is – the freeup will automate it.”
The device is currently being tested on three farms including Overbury, and Stackpole Farm in Pembrokeshire for monitoring water pressure in a bore pump and Cheshire’s Reaseheath College where it is being put to various uses in the milking parlour.
Overbury Farm Manager Jake Freestone said: “Whilst irrigating, we use the freeup to monitor water pressure on the irrigation reel which alerts us to significant changes in pressure, allowing us to react quickly to any problems. We are now looking at other applications across the farm and estate.”
McNamara has established his own company to develop and sell the ‘freeup’, and he is looking for additional farms willing to take part in trials of the device. Any farms interested in trialling the freeup can email Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org or, for further information, visit www.freeup.world